Friday, August 28, 2009
I Miss Mary
My dear friend, Mary Irons, passed away a month ago. She was 96 years old, a lively conversationalist, and until the last year or so of her life, able to go places and do things (most of the time). I was assigned to Mary as Lay Eucharist Minister - to take communion to her two times a month. But before my first visit, another of Mary's friend had to vouch for me. Mary was very particular about her visitors!
We talked for at least an hour on every visit (which became more frequent over the four or five years that we shared Sunday afternoons together). She told me about growing up in Amador County California where her grandfather owned a gold mine. Later she moved to San Francisco, living not too far from Fisherman's Wharf. She had lots of stories to tell, about both places. And about Bermuda, her favorite vacation spot.
Mary was one of the first female graduates from Stanford University. That was where she met her husband, Charles Irons. They moved to Fairhope, Alabama in the early 60's. For many years Charles was Chairman of the Board of Thomas Hospital in Fairhope. Mary was proud, rightly so, of his enormous contributions to the community in this volunteer position.
Mary told me about her daughters, her grandchildren, and I even got to meet her twin great grandchildren one Sunday afternoon. I also got to visit with two of her three daughters in person, and had several long conversations with the third daughter.
Mary loved to look at my photographs. She even came to an exhibit of mine (with Jeannine Griffin) at the University of South Alabama. One of my photographs in that show was of her orchid. I named the photograph "Mary's Orchid I" Mary provided a name for a photograph of thatch I took in Mexico which was also in that show. She called it "Dirty Asparagus." I loved that!
It has been a month now since Mary died. My Sundays are not the same. But I am thankful for all the afternoons we did share together. Thank you Mary!